Towers and Trails of Cappadocia

Walking holiday in the magical landscape of Cappadocia in Turkey




From $1,140 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Stay in UNESCO `fairy-tale` Goreme and Ottoman-Greek Guzelyurt
  • Fantastic visit to the amazing underground city of Derinkuyu
  • Explore Ihlara, Monks, Red, Rose, Zelve and White Valleys on foot
  • Walk under the colourful toadstool-like formations of Pasabaglari

This wonderful twin-centre based walking holiday explores the very best highlights of Cappadocia with 6 days of easy walking.  We start the week in the Ihlara canyons and valleys close to atmospheric Guzelyurt as we walk through a surreal landscape of strangely eroded volcanic rock and colourful fairy chimneys.  We then visit the magnificent and fascinating 'Swiss cheese' underground city of Derinkuyu, the deepest underground city in Turkey and once home to over 20,000 people!  Next we head to UNESCO Goreme for five nights, deep in the heart of Cappadocia and home to a splendid open-air museum, with its unmissable complex of brightly decorated frescoed cave churches dating from medieveal times.  Scenic hikes in the beautiful 'Red' and 'Rose' Valleys and to the oldest settlement of Cavusin, take us through a world of troglodyte rock-hewn dwellings and magical churches carved out by Christian communities of the 9th - 11th centuries.  Towards the end of the week we walk amongst the vineyards and wonderful toadstool-like 'fairy chimneys' of the White Valley, before climbing to the 'Citadel' at Uchisar for far reaching views of the stunning area.  With a wonderful mix of lovely walks, atmospheric accommodation, great food and that famous Turkish hospitality, this is quite simply a superb holiday in a colourful part of Turkey described as a must-see destination!

Is this holiday for you?

The central Turkish region of Cappadocia cosists of a high plateau at around 1000 metres elevation, above which rise a number of volcanoes of which, Mount Erciyes (3916m) near Kayseri is the tallest. Historically ash deposits from these volcanoes accumulated to great depths and it is this material that has been eroded to create the wild rock formations for which Cappadocia is famous. The region also has an incredibly rich history and the combination of geography and history makes it one of the most distinctive and attractive travel destinations in Europe. Based at 2 different hotels, we will make a thorough exploration of the area, transferring to the most interesting places, combining short hikes (3 to 4 hours only) with sightseeing visits and cultural experiences. This is an easy walking holiday and accesible to anyone who keeps themselves reasonably fit.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Guzelyurt. A single transfer from Kayseri Airport is provided.
  • Transfer to the Ihlara Canyon. Explore rock cut churches and houses. Return to Guzelyurt.
  • Morning exploring Guzelyurt. Afternoon visit to Derinkuyu underground city. Transfer to Goreme.
  • Transfer to Cavusin. Explore the Monk and Zelve Monastery Valleys. Return to Goreme.
  • Morning visit to Goreme open-air museum. Afternoon exploration of the Rose Valley. Return to Goreme.
  • Full day exporing fairy chimneys in the White Valley and spectacular Zemi Valley. Return to Goreme.
  • Walk through the Pancarlik Valley dotted with iconic fairy chimneys and cones. Return to Goreme.
  • Departure Day. A single timed transfer to Kayseri Airport is provided.
Sat 26 Mar - Sat 02 Apr Code TTC /01/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
Sat 28 May - Sat 04 Jun Code TTC /02/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
Sat 03 Sep - Sat 10 Sep Code TTC /03/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sat 17 Sep - Sat 24 Sep Code TTC /04/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
Sat 08 Oct - Sat 15 Oct Code TTC /05/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Kayseri. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Kayseri airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Turkish airlines is the logical choice of airlines for flights to Kayseri although it is possible to use a different carrier to Istanbul and connect there with the Turkish Airlines domestic flight to Kayseri. Turkish Airlines operate flights to Kayseri via Istanbul from London Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham airports. Please check the timings of arrival and departure for your prefered flights and be aware that some flight schedules may require additional nights in Istanbul or extra transfers in Kayseri. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers' section in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • airport
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Guzelyurt. A single transfer from Kayseri Airport is provided.

    Meet at Kayseri Airport. KE group package begins with the 2 hour transfer to Guzelyurt where we check in to our accomodation, a simple but comfortable hotel. As most connecting flights from the UK arrive late in the evening, dinner is not provided on this night. If you are arriving independently of the group it is possible to take dinner at your hotel or in a local restaurant. Guzelyurt is a fascinating town with a rich Ottoman-Greek history and dramatic setting below the snow-capped summit of Hasan Dagi.

    • Accommodation Hotel

  • Transfer to the Ihlara Canyon. Explore rock cut churches and houses. Return to Guzelyurt.

    During breakfast at the hotel we have a briefing from our guide on the week ahead and afterwards we make a short transfer (20 min) to the start our first day's walk in the Ihlara Canyon, a 14 km long gorge with hundreds of rock-cut houses and churches. There are numerous dwellings, some of which are connected by tunnels and corridors. The decorations in the churches date from the 6th to the 13th centuries and are beautifully preserved. Today’s walk will take around 3 hours as we make our way through this peaceful canyon, observing the traditional farming in the valley. There are no roads here and agriculture is practiced in the same way as it has for centuries. At the end of our walk we have lunch in Belisirma village before driving to Selime where we visit the Monastery, one of the most important religious buildings in the area. A visit to this complex of buildings on a steep mountain slope is a must for this region. Afterwards we return to our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 3 hours

  • Morning exploring Guzelyurt. Afternoon visit to Derinkuyu underground city. Transfer to Goreme.

    After breakfast we have a tour of Guzelyurt which has an important place in the history of Christianity in Cappadocia. There was a Christian (Greek) community in the area right up until the population exchange of 1924, when they were ‘replaced’ with the Turks from Thessaloniki and Kavala. We will visit the most important site, the Church Mosque and also take a short walk in ‘Monastery Valley’. Afterwards we drive to Derinkuyu. To visit the fascinating ‘Underground City’ hidden beneath the plains of Central Anatolia. The city has eleven levels extending to a depth of around 85 metres. It is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey and when in use was large enough to shelter up to 50,000 people together with their livestock and food stores. Inside the rock connected by tunnels and passageways, are grand halls, churches, wine and olive press rooms, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, and residences. Approximately 10% of the total complex is currently accessible to the visitor. After our explorations underground we transfer to Goreme at the heart of Cappadocia where we check into our hotel surrounded by the weird rock formations that are an icon of this region. This will be our base for the next five nights.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Transfer to Cavusin. Explore the Monk and Zelve Monastery Valleys. Return to Goreme.

    We start the day with a short drive to Cavusin, a small village of rock cut dwellings and elegantly carved stone houses. This is one of the oldest settlements in Cappadocia and is also the start of today’s walk. We follow a footpath which passes close to fascinating rock formations and with magnificent views to the fairy chimneys at monk’s valley (Pasabaglari) down below. Our walk will takes us then to the Zelve Monastery Valley. Zelve, though recently uninhabited, was an important settlement and religious area during the 9th and 13th centuries. Christian communities fled to Zelve to escape persecution during the Persian and Arab invasions and the area was inhabited until 1952, when the last inhabitants moved to the new town Yeni Zelve, 2 km away. In 1967 Zelve was turned into an open-air museum. After visiting the Zelve Monastery & open air Museum we have a short (10 minute) drive to the Pasabaglari Valley (Monks valley). The Pasabaglari fairy chimneys are unique and feature bizarre toadstool-like caps which protect the rest of the chimney from erosion. This valley was formerly a monastic retreat, hence the name and its most important rock cut church is dedicated to St Simeon. After visiting the Pasabaglari we have the option to walk for a further hour through vineyards and on farm roads back to Cavusin.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Morning visit to Goreme open-air museum. Afternoon exploration of the Rose Valley. Return to Goreme.

    We start the day with a visit to the open air museum which contains a fascinating collection of frescoes collected from various rock churches. We then start our walking in the Meskendir Valley, following a trail past ancient cave dwellings and rock-cut churches. We cross into the Red Valley, reputedly the most beautiful valley in Cappadocia with its spectacular sandstone formations and fairy chimneys and continue our walk through Rose Valley. Along the way we will stop to visit some of the hidden churches like the Uzumlu Church in Red Valley or the Church of the Three Crosses in Rose Valley. These churches have been carved out of the red and rose coloured sandstone and date back to the 8th and 9th century. Inside, they contain decorative reliefs and frescoes which were mostly added from the 10th and 11th century. After walking through the Red and Rose valleys, we come once more to Cavusin where our vehicle is waiting for us and from here, we drive to Avanos which is known for its earthenware pottery. Depending on how long our walk has taken, we may have time to visit one of the pottery studios here before returning to our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Full day exporing fairy chimneys in the White Valley and spectacular Zemi Valley. Return to Goreme.

    After a short drive to the trailhead we begin a walk through the Akvadi (white valley). We follow an old river course which today is a flourishing vineyard and pass particularly slender fairy chimneys. Around noon we arrive in Uchisar village and here we visit the high viewpoint known as “Fortress” which contains several rock-hewn rooms connected to each other with stairs, tunnels and passages. The top of the Fortress provides a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area. fterwards we continue our walk entering the Zemi Valley, a green valley with wind eroded volcanic rocks and tall poplar trees. At the end of the Valley we can see the El Nazar church carved from one piece of rock in a ‘T’ shape and with story-telling frescoes which date back to the 10th Century. Our vehicle will pick us up at the end of the valley and we drive back to our hotel.story-telling frescoes which date back to the 10th Century. Our vehicle will pick us up at the end of the valley and we drive back to our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Walk through the Pancarlik Valley dotted with iconic fairy chimneys and cones. Return to Goreme.

    Today we will take a walk up onto a plateau offering a magnificent view over the Uzengi valley. We then enter the Pancarlik Valley with its iconic cones and fairy chimneys. Continuing our walk, we visit the Kepez and Sarica churches and Ortahisar village before reaching Urgup. Urgup is one of the most important centres in Cappadocia and was a bishopric of all of the rock cut churches and monasteries found in the villages, valleys and towns around the area in the 11th century. Today the town is known for its wines and cafes. We have some free time here to relax a while and to taste traditional cup of Turkish tea and to explore the small shops and pleasant cafes. In the late afternoon we return to our hotel for our final evening and overnight in Cappadocia.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure Day. A single timed transfer to Kayseri Airport is provided.

    This morning we provide a single group transfer (2 hours) to Kayseri Airport, where KE Land Only group package services end.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A professional English speaking local guide
  • Single timed Kayseri Airport transfers at the beginning and end of the trip
  • All land transport throughout the trip
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • All meals
  • Mineral water at meal times

  • Travel insurance
  • Kayseri Airport transfers other than group transfers
  • Tips for local staff
  • Entrance fees at tourist sites and optional activities
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The group will rendezvous either at Kayseri Airport or at the group hotel. Within the Land Only cost of this holiday, we have arranged for a single, timed group transfer from Kayseri Airport to the first night's accommodation at Guzelyurt (near Ilhara). This transfer is timed to the arrival of Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines evening flights from Istanbul and will normally depart from the airport at approximately 10.30 pm on day 1 of the trip itinerary. The local guide or a representative of the local agent will assist with the transfer.

If you arrive considerably earlier in the day, why not spend some time in the city which is just 5km away from the airport. The walled city of Kayseri is one of the oldest in the region and has a wealth of historical monuments dating from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods. There are left luggage facilities at the airport and a taxi into the city and back again will cost approximately £25. Alternatively, if you wish to proceed directly to the group hotel we can arrange a private transfer. Please contact the KE office for further details.

At the end of the holiday we will provide a single group transfer timed to the check in for the Pegasus and Turkish Airlines morning flights to Istanbul. This transfer will normally arrive at the airport at 7.00 am.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

During this trip, the group will spend 2 nights at a charming hotel at Guzelyurt (near Ihlara) renovated from traditional old stone houses and with arched rooms. For 5 nights in Goreme, at the heart of Cappadocia, we stay in a comfortable hotel decorated in a combination of modern and traditional styles. Accommodation is arranged on a twin share basis. Single rooms are available at supplementary cost. Additional hotel nights in Mustafapasha are also available. For hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

Breakfasts in Turkey will usually consist of fresh baked bread, butter, jam and/or honey, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, yogurt, preserved meat, fruit juice, eggs, and tea or coffee. This is most often set out as a buffet. Dinner options in hotels range from simple grilled meats to elaborately baked fish and meat casseroles. There will usually be at least one ‘Western’ style dish on the menu. There are also plenty of delicious vegetarian options.

All meals are included in the holiday price from breakfast on day 2 to breakfast on day 8. Most connecting flights from the UK arrive into Kayseri in the late evening so dinner is not included on day 1.

Approximately £150 should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including your bar bills and reasonable tips to your guides and drivers. If you intend to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). Turkey’s unit of currency is the New Turkish Lira. By far the easiest way to obtain your travel cash is from ATM’s using a credit card or a debit card linked to the International Plus or Cirrus system - remember you will need your PIN number to do this. ATM’s are available in most towns in Turkey. Credit cards can be used to purchase goods and services in some shops, hotels and restaurants in Turkey.

The group will be accompanied throughout the holiday by an experienced, professional English-speaking tour leader.

Tips do not form part of the wages of local staff but they are very much appreciated. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service. It is best if the tip is given at the end of the trip by the group as a whole. We recommend that each group member contributes around £25 (in equivalent local currency) and that tips are then distributed between the guides and drivers as the group feels is appropriate.

There is no baggage weight limit on this trip other than that imposed by your international flight. We do ask that you limit your luggage to one main bag (your KE trek bag) and a small day sack.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

A passport with a minimum of 2 months remaining validity from the date of entry is required (at least 6 months remaining validity is recommended). Visas are required by US, Canadian, UK and most European passport holders (but not by nationals of France, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Finland or Sweden).

All visitors to Turkey are required to purchase their entry visa via the Turkish Government website prior to travel. You will need an email address and a printer connected to your computer in order to do this. After you have submitted your application you will be sent a verification email. Once you receive the “e-mail address verification message”, you will need to click the “approve” button and then proceed with the payment within 24 hours otherwise your application will time out and you will need to make a new application. Currently, the cost of the e-visa is 20 US Dollars. Payment can only be made with Visa or Mastercard (debit or credit cards). Once payment has been made you will receive a further email with a link to download the e-visa. Please print out and keep your e-Visa with you while entering and exiting Turkey.

Visas are valid for 180 days from the date of application for a stay of up to 90 days.

Note for Clients on Mount Ararat ONLY, we also require that you send us the following information by e-mail or by post at least 4 weeks prior to departure:

Your place of birth

Your Father’s full name

Your Mother’s full name

Please note that Mount Ararat permits will not be issued without these details.

We do keep our information up to date but be advised visa requirements are subject to change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in the case of recent alterations.

Passport validity

You should ensure your passport satisfies the following criteria:

Valid for a minimum of six months from the date of entry into Turkey

Valid for at least three months from the date you leave Turkey

Valid for at least 60 days beyond the expiry date of your visa, e-visa or residence permit (visas and e-visas are often issued with 6 months validity so your passport may need to have eight months validity at the time your visa is issued).

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots
  • Training shoes, sneakers or sandals
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Baselayer shirts (1 short sleeve, 1 long sleeve)
  • T-shirts, casual shirt
  • Fleece jacket (for chilly evenings)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Gloves
  • Sunhat
  • Eyewear-Sunglasses
  • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)
  • Daypack 30 litres / 1800 cu in
  • Torch / Flashlight with spare batteries (needed for exploring the underground buildings and passages in the itinerary)
  • Basic First Aid Kit - refer to trip notes for details
  • Sun protection (including for lips)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre / 2 pint (x2)
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial hand wash

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers (it can rain)
  • Warm jacket (down) – recommended for December trips
  • Gaiters – for potential snow during winter departures
  • Spare laces
  • Insect repellant – (DEET)
  • Shorts
  • Swimwear
  • Camera, film, batteries
  • Towel (for swimming)
  • Pocket-knife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Travel clothes

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

Know before you go

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

This is not a demanding or difficult trek. However, it makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on any active holiday getting some additional exercise. While walking or hiking is the best preparation, any regular exercise such as jogging, squash and swimming is good for developing better cardiovascular fitness and stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of walks in hilly country.

Those familiar with southern Turkey may be surprised by the climate of Cappadocia which is much cooler and drier than its Mediterranean and Aegean counterparts. Cappadocia has a continental climate characterised by hot dry summers and cold snowy winters. The average daytime temperature during April is 15ºC rising to 20ºC by late May. During July and August temperatures can reach 30ºC or more but by September the daytime average is back down around 23ºC and this falls to 20ºC by October. In December and January it can be really cold with 10ºC being the average but temperatures below freezing not uncommon. There is a sharp difference in the temperature between day and night at any time of the year so evenings can be chilly and in December and January temperatures will certainly fall below freezing overnight. Rainfall is sparse and the region is largely semi-arid although there is more likelihood of encountering some rain (or snow) in December and January.

Turkey. Lonely Planet. The Rough Guide to Turkey. Turkish Odyssey. A Traveller’s Guide to Turkey and Turkish Culture. Serif Yenin.

Cappadocia. Mepmedya Yayinlari. 1:800,000

Legend and text in English, Turkish and German. No contours but relief shading, named mountain ranges, passes and spot heights all indicate the terrain. The mapping is annotated with numerous places of interest. The most important sites are numbered, with descriptions appearing on the reverse of the map including sites in the Goreme National Park area, the underground city of Derinkuyu, many museums, churches, mosques and monasteries, and areas of natural beauty where 'fairy chimney' rock formations can be found. The map covers an area from the town of Aksaray in the west to Kayseri in the east, and from Kirsehir in the north to the town of Nigde in the south.

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